Castle Keep Pre-School Ltd

Allesley Park Community Centre, 199 Winsford Avenue, COVENTRY, CV5 9NG

Inspection Date: 18/12/2014
Previous inspection date: 28/01/2011

This inspection: 1
Previous inspection: 2

How well the early years provision meets the needs of the range of children who attend 1
The contribution of the early years provision to the well-being of children 1
The effectiveness of the leadership and management of the early years provision 1

The quality and standards of the early years provision

This provision is outstanding

  • The quality of teaching is outstanding. Staff have an excellent understanding of how children learn and all children make superb progress given their starting points.
  • Staff are enthusiastic, motivated and caring, and ensure that excellent relationships with key people are formed. As a result, children are supported well and develop a sense of security and belonging.
  • Staff demonstrate consistently exceptional interaction with children. They skilfully ask questions to initiate thinking and extend children’s communication skills. Adult-led activities are carefully planned and implemented. Consequently, children learn to concentrate and listen, while enjoying their experiences.
  • Partnerships with parents are extremely strong and their views and opinions are highly valued. These strong relationships ensure that parents are actively involved in their child’s learning and enable staff to build an excellent knowledge of each child’s individual needs.
  • Staff demonstrate a superb understanding of their responsibilities with regard to protecting children and keeping them safe. Their knowledge of child protection procedures is secure and steps taken to minimise potential risks to children within the environment are robust.
  • Leadership is excellent. Rigorous management systems are in place and great importance is placed on the evaluation of practice. This enables staff to constantly seek to enhance their already excellent understanding of good quality childcare and effectively meet the individual needs of children in their care.

Information about this inspection

Inspections of registered early years provision are:

  • scheduled at least once in every inspection cycle – the current cycle ends on 31 July 2016
  • scheduled more frequently where Ofsted identifies a need to do so, for example where provision was previously judged inadequate
  • brought forward in the inspection cycle where Ofsted has received information that suggests the provision may not be meeting the legal requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage or where assessment of the provision identifies a need for early inspection
  • prioritised where we have received information that the provision is not meeting the requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage and which suggests children may not be safe
  • scheduled at the completion of an investigation into failure to comply with the requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage.

Inspection activities

  • The inspector observed activities both indoors and in the outdoor learning environment.
  • The inspector spent time with the manager of the provision and spoke to staff and children at appropriate times during the inspection.
  • The inspector took account of the views of parents spoken to on the day of the inspection.
  • The inspector checked evidence of suitability of all members of staff, their qualifications and the provider’s processes for self-evaluation.
  • The inspector looked at documentation, including children’s records, learning and development information, staff records and a selection of policies and procedures.

Inspector – Tracey Boland

Full report

Information about the setting

Castle keep Pre-School was re-registered in 2010 on the Early Years Register and is a limited company. It operates from the community centre in Allesley Park, Coventry. Children have the use of one large group room and there is an enclosed area available for outdoor play. The setting is open from 9am until 3pm during term time. Children attend for a variety of sessions. There are currently 65 children attending who are in the early years age group. The setting receives funding for the provision of early education for two-, three- and four-year-old children. It supports a number of children who speak English as an additional language and children with special educational needs and/or disabilities. The setting employs seven staff. Of these, all hold appropriate early years qualifications at level 3. The setting receives support from the local authority.

What the setting needs to do to improve further

To further improve the quality of the early years provision the provider should:

  • Enhance the already excellent opportunities for children to develop their understanding of mathematical concepts further, for example, by making resources accessible throughout the environment and in all activities, so that they are even better prepared for the next stage in their learning.

Inspection judgements

How well the early years provision meets the needs of the range of children who attend

Children make excellent progress in their learning and development taking into account their starting points. Staff have a superb knowledge of the Early Years Foundation Stage, which they use to plan effectively for children’s individual interests and abilities. As a result, children are challenged and they make excellent progress in their learning and development. Parents share comprehensive information about their child, which staff use effectively to support their learning and to ensure they make superb progress right from the start. Staff successfully capture children’s learning through their in-depth observations, which are supported by photographs to illustrate the activities children enjoy. This continuous observation and assessment of children during activities informs the next steps in their learning. This process also forms the basis for the progress check for children between the ages of two and three years, which parents are fully involved in. Staff also use this information to identify any gaps in children’s learning, enabling parents to seek appropriate help and support for their child. Excellent procedures are securely embedded in practice to ensure that staff observe and assess children correctly and planning meets their individual needs. Children’s learning journeys are used effectively with parents, enabling them to familiarise themselves with the progress made at pre-school and share their child’s learning and achievements at home. This successfully nurtures partnerships between staff and parents, and has a positive impact on children’s learning.

Staff ensure an excellent variety of adult-led and child-initiated activities take place across the seven areas of learning, which are adapted to meet the differing age and abilities of children. Consequently, children gain confidence and skills that prepare them extremely well for the move to school. Information regarding each child’s learning is shared with the local schools, giving teaching staff an excellent insight into each child’s understanding and abilities. Children move safely and confidently around the pre-school, selecting resources and engaging in activities that interest them. The staff team adapt the newly extended environment to meet children’s ever-changing interests and learning needs, and are currently looking at ways of enhancing children’s understanding of mathematical concepts even further. Children with special educational needs and/or disabilities are supported well and staff work closely with other professionals involved to ensure their individual needs are catered for. Children’s understanding of diversity and the wider world is continually developing through an excellent use of a wide range of resources and activities throughout the year. Staff encourage children and parents to share information about celebrations that take place at home. Resources are plentiful and encourage children’s understanding of similarities and differences extremely well. Staff fully understand the importance of encouraging children learning English as an additional or dual language, to use their home language within the pre-school so that they become fully bilingual.

Children enter the pre-school excitedly and soon become engrossed in their chosen activity. They are curious learners and revel in the opportunities available to them. Children have excellent opportunities to practise their early writing. For example, younger children use a selection of paint brushes, pens and chalks to make marks. The environment is rich in print so they develop their recognition of letters. Staff continually enhance and extend children’s skills in communication and language through singing favourite songs and rhymes, listening to stories and expressing needs, such as asking to use the toilet. Their skilful questioning encourages children to pre-empt what may happen during story time and to think about their creations when painting. Children’s problem solving and critical thinking skills continually develop. For example, when realising certain coloured bricks are not in the correct sequence when following a pattern, staff encourage children to identify what may be wrong and the action they need to take to correct it. Children develop their knowledge and understanding across all areas of learning as they use different electronic toys and equipment including computer programmes and remote controlled toys. Staff support children to gain their skills when using the mouse to access various educational games that encourage their counting skills and letter recognition. They programme electronic toys to move in a certain direction and enjoy using the nursery cameras, taking pictures and looking back through them, recalling past events and activities.

The garden is a wonderland of experiences. Children enjoy spending time in the bird hut making binoculars using their hands to watch the birds coming in and out of the garden. They understand the importance of waiting quietly so as not to scare them away. Children entice bugs and insects in their homemade hedgehog houses and bug hotels, and pictures within the garden enable them to clearly identify those that do come in. They dig and explore in the mud, using small tools as well as large sit-on diggers. Children’s understanding of the living world continually grows as they help care for the ducks, chickens and rabbits in the community centre garden. Their knowledge of the food chain and how things grow is nurtured as they plant a wide variety of fruit and vegetables; firstly from seed then transfer them into large growing beds. Here they water them, care for them and monitor their growth until ready to eat. Children eagerly anticipate what the vegetables will look like as they come out of the ground and use them in cooking activities, such as making vegetable curry, experiencing different tastes and textures. Children engage in stimulating and challenging activities and their independence skills are continually encouraged. This results in them becoming capable, confident learners.

The contribution of the early years provision to the well-being of children

Children are extremely happy, relaxed and confident, and the key-person system is well- established in the daily routine. Staff know children exceptionally well, are fully aware of their interests, abilities and planned next steps. Effective settling-in processes enables staff, children and families to get to know each other extremely well. Relationships form which encourage children’s feeling of security and belonging. Daily routines within the pre- school enable children to begin to develop their personal independence, for example, learning to dress themselves before outdoor play and to use the toilet independently. This helps children feel confident and ready for the move on to school. Staff share detailed information with local schools and spend time preparing children and parents for the forthcoming changes in routine and environment.

Children’s behaviour is exemplary. They are courteous and polite towards each other and their ability to share and take turns is excellent. Children’s confidence and self-esteem continually grows through the praise, encouragement and acknowledgement of their achievements by staff. This results in all children making extremely good progress in their personal, social and emotional development. Children’s contribution throughout the day is valued and encouraged, and staff clearly enjoy listening to what children have to say. Mealtimes are an excellent social occasion for all children. Parents provide healthy packed lunches for their child, which supports the discussions staff have with them about healthy eating. Children are actively involved in choosing and preparing their own snacks each day. They learn the importance of using knives safely when cutting fruit and also as they prepare the fruit and vegetables they have gathered from the pre-school garden. Staff take meticulous care in ensuring they are fully aware of children’s individual dietary needs, allergies and preferences. Robust routines relating to the handling and preparation of foods ensure any opportunities for children to come into contact with foods that are unsuitable for them are extremely well managed. Therefore, they remain safe.

Children’s physical skills are developed extremely well. They move confidently as they climb, slide, ride wheeled vehicles and investigate their environment. Children develop excellent control and coordination as they manoeuvre around the garden using wheeled toys. Their small muscle skills are constantly developing as they dig and build in the mud using various spades, rakes and other small tools. This also encourages their hand and eye coordination extremely well.

The effectiveness of the leadership and management of the early years provision

The leadership and management within the pre-school is excellent. The safeguarding of children is given the highest priority and staff are fully conversant with the procedures they should follow if concerned about a child in their care. Staff undertake regular training to ensure they maintain their high level of understanding. Consequently, children remain safe. Extremely rigorous procedures are in place for the recruitment and induction of new staff, ensuring that staff are fully aware of their role and responsibilities. All staff undertake suitability checks and all staff receive one-to-one supervision as well as annual appraisals. This enables them to clearly identify the strengths within their practice and look at their continued professional development and training that will enhance their skills further. The monitoring and evaluation of the educational programmes is excellent and as a result, children consistently make the best possible progress. The manager motivates staff, sharing her excellent understanding of the learning and development requirements through discussion, sharing ideas and the effective monitoring of practice. Consequently, the pre-school continually evolves and improves.

Comprehensive written risk assessments reflect the vigilance of staff with regard to safety for children, parents and themselves. Staff deployment is excellent and effective routines are in place to ensure that children are effectively supervised. Policies and procedures further safeguard children. The use of mobile phones and cameras is forbidden within the pre-school and access to the setting is only granted by a member of staff. The security of the building both inside and out ensures children play and learn in a safe and secure environment, which superbly promotes their care and learning.

Documentation is meticulous and comprehensive policies and procedures reflect current best practice and legislation. Staffs skills are acknowledged by the manager who values each one of them. Staff are supported in their practice through praise and encouragement and they in turn are inspired to continually enhance the service provided and they continually strive for excellence. This encourages a feeling of value, appreciation and inspires them further. Management and staff have embraced the culture of self-evaluation and their high aspirations ensure continued improvements take place. Parents, staff and children contribute significantly to the self-evaluation processes and their views, opinions and comments are evaluated and actioned, where appropriate for the benefit of the pre- school. Staff work exceptionally well in partnership with a very wide range of external agencies and professionals to meet the needs of all children. Well-targeted strategies are in place to support all children and effective relationships are forged with parents. Consultations with parents’ are well attended and valued by staff and parents. Each week parents take home their child’s book, which holds snapshots of their child’s learning and photographs reflecting their enjoyment in a wide variety of activities. This, alongside discussions with their child’s key person each day, keeps them abreast of their child’s learning and enables children to share the photographs with their parents. Extremely positive comments were received from parents about the pre-school. They speak highly of staff and value the feedback they are given each day through discussion and also the use of their child’s book each week. Parents are fully aware of the policies and procedures, and feel able to talk to staff should they have any issues or concerns. Parents are delighted that their children are settled and enjoy coming to the pre-school and feel that they have an excellent variety of activities that help them progress.

What inspection judgements mean

Registered early years provision

Grade 1 – Oustanding
Outstanding provision is highly effective in meeting the needs of all children exceptionally well. This ensures that children are very well prepared for the next stage of their learning.

Grade 2 – Good
Good provision is effective in delivering provision that meets the needs of all children well. This ensures children are ready for the next stage of their learning.

Grade 3 – Requires Improvement
The provision is not giving children a good standard of early years education and/or there are minor breaches of the safeguarding and welfare requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage. We re-inspect nurseries and pre-schools judged as requires improvement within 12 months of the date of inspection.

Grade 4 – Inadequate
Provision that is inadequate requires significant improvement and/or enforcement action. The provision is failing to give children an acceptable standard of early years education and/or is not meeting the safeguarding and welfare requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage. It will be monitored and inspected again within six months of the date of this inspection.

There were no children present at the time of the inspection. The inspection judgement is that the provider continues to meet the requirements for registration.

Not Met
There were no children present at the time of the inspection. The inspection judgement is that the provider does not meet the requirements for registration.


This inspection was carried out by Ofsted under sections 49 and 50 of the Childcare Act 2006 on the quality and standards of provision that is registered on the Early Years Register. The registered person must ensure that this provision complies with the statutory framework for children’s learning, development and care, known as the Early Years Foundation Stage.

Setting details

Unique reference number – EY413233

Local authority – Coventry

Inspection number – 851374

Type of provision

Registration category – Childcare – Non-Domestic

Age range of children – 0 – 5

Total number of places – 51

Number of children on roll – 65

Name of provider – Castle Keep Pre-School Limited

Date of previous inspection – 28/01/2011

Telephone number – 02476713248

Any complaints about the inspection or the report should be made following the procedures set out in the guidance ‘Complaints procedure: raising concerns and making complaints about Ofsted’, which is available from Ofsted’s website: If you would like Ofsted to send you a copy of the guidance, please telephone 0300 123 4234, or email

Type of provision

For the purposes of this inspection the following definitions apply:

Full-time provision is that which operates for more than three hours. These are usually known as nurseries, nursery schools and pre-schools and must deliver the Early Years Foundation Stage. They are registered on the Early Years Register and pay the higher fee for registration.

Sessional provision operates for more than two hours but does not exceed three hours in any one day. These are usually known as pre-schools, kindergartens or nursery schools and must deliver the Early Years Foundation Stage. They are registered on the Early Years Register and pay the lower fee for registration.

Childminders care for one or more children where individual children attend for a period of more than two hours in any one day. They operate from domestic premises, which are usually the child minder’s own home. They are registered on the Early Years Register and must deliver the Early Years Foundation Stage.

Out of school provision may be sessional or full-time provision and is delivered before or after school and/or in the summer holidays. They are registered on the Early Years Register and must deliver the Early Years Foundation Stage. Where children receive their Early Years Foundation Stage in school these providers do not have to deliver the learning and development requirements in full but should complement the experiences children receive in school.

The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) regulates and inspects to achieve excellence in the care of children and young people, and in education and skills for learners of all ages. It regulates and inspects childcare and children’s social care, and inspects the Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service (Cafcass), schools, colleges, initial teacher training, work-based learning and skills training, adult and community learning, and education and training in prisons and other secure establishments. It assesses council children’s services, and inspects services for looked after children, safeguarding and child protection.

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